Why Buying A Home Of Your Own Beats Renting

coupleWhich is better, buying or renting? If you’ve been wondering whether to take the step toward homeownership this year, consider this:

Today’s low mortgage rates are hard to beat. Rates this low dramatically reduce the cost of homeownership. In fact, it’s hard to overstate the importance of today’s low mortgage rates in the buy-rent decision. Take a 30-year home loan valued at $250,000. At 8 percent, the mortgage payment would top $1,800 per month At 4 percent, the monthly principal and interest payment would be less than $1,200 per month. Today’s low mortgage rates are giving families a rare opportunity to lock in low rates — and low monthly payments — that they can enjoy for years and years to come.

You get to build equity. When you pay rent, you are paying your landlord’s mortgage — or adding to his or her bank account. When you’re a homeowner, you can create equity by paying down your mortgage balance over time and by benefiting from any increase in home values.

You get a tax deduction. If you rent, your landlord get the tax deduction. When you own your own home, you get the opportunity to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes.

You get freedom. Your landlord probably has a bunch of different rules that keep you from doing things like painting or other home improvements. When you own your own home, you get to make your own rules!

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About New Federal Mortgage Rules

mortgageThinking about buying a home but worried about the federal mortgage rules that went into effect early this year? Don’t worry. While there have been some concerns that the changes will make it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage, the reality is that for most borrowers, it simply isn’t the case. In fact, the new rules, designed to make sure that home buyers are financially ready to purchase a home, offer a variety of benefits to home buyers.

Administered by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the changes are designed so that home buyers have more information and protections when shopping for a loan. Lenders are required to make a “good-faith, reasonable effort” to determine that borrowers are likely to be able to repay their loan. That means lenders are required to check and verify income, assets, debts and credit history, to determine whether borrowers are financially ready to buy a home. Lenders also must make sure borrowers can afford the monthly payments on their loan along with all of their other credit obligations, such as car loans. It discourages loans with risky features and excessive fees. Sounds sensible, right? That’s what reputable lenders have been doing all along.

The new rules DO NOT require consumers to make only large down payments, have only excellent credit scores or take out only certain types of mortgage loans in order to purchase a home. Want to learn more? Here’s an informative guide to the myths – and realities – of this new consumer protection measure.

Tips for Effectively Staging Your Home for Sale

After having finished this article, please visit: http://www.mickeypascarellarealestate.com if you have any other questions.

Written by Mandy Collier

In her book, “Staging to Sell: The Secret to Selling Homes in a Down Market,” author Barb Schwarz defines staging as preparing a property for sale. She says staging helps buyers envision themselves in the property, and that clutter, a lack of cleanliness and emptiness that imparts a cold feeling all turn buyers off. Well-staged homes sell 32 percent faster too, according to Amy Miller, author of “Home Staging to Sell Your Home Fast.” Plus, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Agency reports staged homes sell for 17 percent more than homes that aren’t staged. If you want to sell your home, prepare to de-clutter and clean, use the right colors, and arrange furniture for an attractive and welcoming atmosphere so that buyers can picture themselves living there.

De-clutter and Clean


Nothing turns buyers off faster than dirty, neglected property. De-cluttering and cleaning is the first step in home staging. It may be easier to work on one room at a time, simply removing everything from the room including floor lamps, window treatments, and pictures and wall hangings in preparation for cleaning.

Steps to de-clutter:

  • Remove excess furniture and accessories, keeping only the basics for each room.
  • Store, sell or donate anything that isn’t staying in the home.
  • Don’t be tempted to fill the garage because buyers will be looking in there, too.
  • Pay particular attention to the kitchen, bathroom, living room and closets.

Steps to clean and refresh:

  • Thoroughly clean the room from floor to ceiling, including windows, walls, light fixtures and baseboards, and repair any cracks, holes, pits or gouges.
  • Clean or replace carpets, and buff and wax wood floors.
  • Make sure there are fresh light bulbs in all lights and repair or replace any broken or outdated light fixtures.
  • Paint walls and ceilings with light, neutral colors.
  • Put up simple, attractive window treatments such as rolling shades and side drapes in light colors to allow as much natural light into the space as possible.


Use the Right Colors

right colors

Use light, neutral colors and textures to make the space look bigger and brighter. Avoid harsh or garish colors, even for accents. Creams, beiges and light browns lighten a space and do not detract from a decor. Keep the walls and ceilings light and go just a shade darker for window treatments and area or accent rugs. If your furniture is dark, consider reupholstering in lighter colors or selling existing furniture and buying updated pieces in a more neutral, lighter color palette.

Arrange Furniture


When the room is cleaned and refreshed, bring in basic furniture settings such as a couch, coffee table, and one or two floor lamps for a living room. Use contemporary or traditional style furniture with wood legs and frames, not metal or ultra-modern or eclectic styles.

An understated area rug and one or two conservative wall decorations are the only accessories necessary. Resist pushing furniture against the walls and instead arrange seating in inviting groups. Keep furniture away from windows.

Pay Attention to Light


Bring as much natural light into rooms as possible, and make sure all light fixtures are operational and have bright light bulbs in them. Rooms should have different types of lighting, including natural light from windows, overhead lighting and table lighting. Consider a large light fixture in the ceiling, floor and table lamps, and wall lights such as sconces or track lighting.


Miller recommends talking to real estate agents in your area to find out what home buyers like and what turns them off. Agents talk to buyers every day and have first-hand knowledge of what homes are selling.

What’s In Store For The Housing Market in 2014?

Housing Market

Wondering what is in store for the nation’s housing market next year? Expect another upbeat year for residential real estate, according to the National Association of Realtors. The association predicts home prices and sales will continue to increase in 2014.

All economic signs point to a continued housing recovery nationwide, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. Yun predicts the national median existing-home price to increase by a healthy 6 percent in 2014. Existing-home sales are forecast to hold steady at about 5.12 million in 2014, with new home sales expected to reach 508,000 next year, up from 429,000 in 2013.

What’s in store for the Philly housing market? In the Philadelphia metro area, the housing recovery continues to gain strength. Home sales and prices are rising, and that trend is expected to continue next year. Mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2014, but are forecast to remain near historic lows.  All in all, 2014 will be a great year to buy or sell a home.

What are you waiting for?

List Of Improving Markets Hits Record High


Here’s some more good news about the nation’s housing market. The number of markets listed as “improving” on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index has reached a record high of 291.

That’s a significant vote of confidence in residential real estate. The index, started two years ago, is designed to track the housing market’s recovery in 360 metro areas by monitoring three key measures: Housing permits, employment and home prices. In all, 80 percent of the metros tracked by the index, including Philadelphia, have shown consistent growth in these three measures in recent months.

The index is just one of several key indicators that demonstrate the continued strength of the residential market in Philly and beyond. For more information about the index and a city-by-city look at the nation’s housing recovery, go to this link.

Make Thanksgiving A Tasty – And Safe – Holiday

Thanksgiving_Dinner_3065145964-300x199Thanksgiving is certainly a tasty holiday. We also want it to be a safe celebration for you and your family. Here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common Thanksgiving Day disasters:

Prepare foods safely. Turkey and other Thanksgiving staples can make you sick if you don’t prepare, store and serve them at the correct temperatures. Go to this link for safely prepping a wide range of Thanksgiving favorites.

Stay safe in the kitchen. Burns and cuts and other kitchen mishaps are common causes of emergency room visits on Thanksgiving Day. Pay especially close attention to children. Consider making the kitchen a “kid-free zone” while the Thanksgiving meal is being prepared.

Stay safe on the road. Many areas of the country see an uptick in car accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Experts say much of that has to do with the fact that it’s such a big driving holiday – many people take road trips instead of flying on Thanksgiving weekend. Even those who are just driving across town may be drowsy from a big meal. Take extra care when you’re on the road. Check out these safety tips.

Home maintenance: How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

Are you ready for cooler weather?

Image Each fall, there are some important home maintenance tasks that you can do to save energy, make your home safer, and reduce the chance of a costly wintertime home repair disaster. Here are some of the most important things you should consider doing before colder weather hits:

Check your carbon monoxide detectors. Install units if you don’t have them. If you do have them, make sure they are working properly.Carbon-monoxide leakage from a gas furnace can be a real health and safety hazard. Inspect your fire detectors while you’re at it, too.

Reverse your ceiling fans. Warm air rises, so switching your fan’s blades so they run in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat will push warm air back down into the room. This can save on heating costs, especially in rooms with high or vaulted ceilings.

Caulk around windows and doors. Caulk doesn’t cost a lot, but can make a real difference in terms of energy savings throughout your home

Divert water away from your home. It’s easy to add extensions to your home’s downspouts so that water runs at least three to four feet away from your home. Doing so can prevent too much water from pooling near your foundation and entering your home.

Want to learn more about other fall maintenance tasks that can save you money and headaches all winter long? Check out this informative slide show.